Goal Setting Principles

I’m on route back up to Dublin at long last.

The break was wonderful but I haven’t been able to turn my mind off the last 48 hours so I know it’s time to get back to the grinding stone.

Being the first week of the new year I’ve decided to stick with the goal setting theme as the majority either don’t use goal setting or don’t do it correctly.

When done right it’s incredibly powerful in increasing performance and keeping the boat afloat through some of the tougher times.

Here are the key principles to adhere by when setting your goals for 2017.


Make goals specific and measurable

My Dad said it the other day before I took the boots to him.

‘That’s it I’m going to ride more this year and get fitter’…

How much more?

What the hell does fitter mean?

You need to be exact – riding how many days or hours a week or month?

Does fitter mean getting around the local loop in under an hour?

Or dropping doing to a 34 inch waist – you need to make it quantifiable!

A measurable goal is one you can quantify, in the sense that you know exactly how close you are to achieving that goal.


The goals need to be time bound

If you state define a goal without a time restraint it’s far more likely to be ineffective.

Is this goal to be accomplished by the end of the session?

The end of the training block?

Before the season starts?

Well stated goals should be timed.


Select goals that are kind of difficult

Not too easy and not extremely hard!

You want to pick one that forces you to really dig deep into your reserves.

That said if you do so it should be attainable if all goes well.

Making them moderately difficult makes them really satisfying when attained.


Use short-range goals to achieve long range plans 

The process of setting goals is bit by bit process.

Long term goals over the course of years or even a career provide the overall stability and foundations to process particularly when short term process and outcome goals don’t go to plan.  

The piecing together of short term goals is what brings us closer to these long term goals.


Identify the different kind of goals

There are three different types of goals and each are warranted.

Process goals are often overlooked but are crucial to successful goal setting.

Process goals are completely under your control and are the small steps you put in place to reach the bigger performance or outcome goals.

Process goals are skills to focus on and achieve within an individual training session such has holding certain position or particular technique for example during a standing start sprint.

Performance goals are what you are trying to achieve and the athlete has some control here such as trying to hold a certain wattage, speed for a particular interval or session or going sub 60 – minutes in your local 25 mile TT.

An outcome goal – is essentially the result and is dependent on the other riders you are competing against e.g. finishing top 3 in you next time trial.


Athlete centred goals

It is important that athletes feel in control of their goals and are fully involved in the process of selecting them.

Ensuring that athlete accepts and internalises the goal is one of the most important features of goal setting.

If you as the athlete set your own goals, you’re most likely internalise them.

Sometimes when coaches set goals for athletes, they aren’t taken seriously enough.


Seek support of goals 

The important people in your life are very important contributing factors to you reaching your goals.

They can give support and help you achieve goals but if they are not part of the process or if they’re unaware of what you’re trying to achieve they could unintentionally derail your plans.

This usually includes family, friends and teammates.

You need to make an effort to inform and involve these individuals about the goals you are setting and the importance of their support in the process!

It might help to plan your holiday or time off with family following your goals at this point to balance the equation!

So with a simple statement my such as riding more to get fit I left my dad with a bullet pointed list and told him to update me on his progress as he goes!

On a depressing note I just weighed myself …….

Happy New Year folks!


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